Localizing for France: 4 Things to Consider

by | Aug 20, 2021

France is the new (post-Brexit) second-in-command e-commerce market in the European Union behind the economic powerhouse of Germany. This means that localizing for France should be on your international expansion agenda.

localizing for France

Who Speaks French?

French, the language of diplomacy and love, comes in at number nine in the top ten most important languages for website localization. Le français is the official language of no less than 29 countries. Moreover, two-thirds of native French speakers reside outside of France in Francophone nations. A French translation of your website has the potential for future localization projects for existing markets in Belgium, Switzerland, and Canada and also emerging economies like Cote D’Ivoire, DR Congo, and Rwanda. 

But we are digressing! Let’s get back to localizing for France and the four things to consider before diving into the French market. 

1. Consider The French Consumers

France comes with some pretty notable trends with respect to its e-commerce consumers. For instance, you might think that millennials, born and raised in the internet era, are the primary customer base. However, your typical e-commerce shopper in France falls in the 35-49 age group, with millennials (25-34-year-olds) coming in second.

  • E-commerce user penetration for 2021 was projected to be 74.1%, with 78% forecast by 2025. These figures are most likely underestimated because of how the unpredictable COVID-19 pandemic has boosted e-commerce everywhere.

As an international business, you’d be remiss in not translating and localizing your website for the French market. French-speaking shoppers expect e-commerce sites to be in their native language, and your effort will be appreciated because it is essentially polite. Clarity, respect, politeness, and promptness are all traits valued by French consumers, so heed them.

French shoppers look for and demand a native experience. Although many French citizens are multilingual, a majority of them won’t shop at an online store that doesn’t speak to them in French and doesn’t maintain a local presence, including native pricing and payment methods.

2. Consider the French Market

The French e-commerce market is a mature one. In 2020, it was valued at $114.4 billion and is expected to reach $203.57 billion by 2026.

In France, online marketplaces are big business. Amazon, Auchan, Cdiscount, and Vente-Privee are frequently used by 25% of all French online shoppers. However, there is an interesting niche in the French online market. It’s not just dominated by large retailers; small boutiques with brick-and-mortar locations are still important.

  • Mid-sized sellers aren’t as prevalent, which offers opportunities for potential growth in cross-border e-commerce.

French Logistics Are Excellent

Improvements in logistics and more delivery choices have played a significant role in the growth of e-commerce in France. The French are very particular concerning how they receive products. Delivery options, convenience, speed, and reliability all play integral roles.

Given the country’s outstanding transport links, poor delivery will undoubtedly lose you customers. Back in 2018, a Royal Mail survey showed that in France, delivery is what matters most. 92% of French shoppers expect to see upfront delivery information, and 72% see delivery costs as the biggest barrier to purchasing.

Payment Methods

Although debit and credit cards comprise more than half of online payments, Paypal still accounts for around 25%. Cartes Bancaires (payment cards) are used by approximately 50% of French consumers when making e-commerce purchases and must be included.

The B2B E-Commerce Market

If you are thinking of localizing for France in the B2B market, know that this market accounts for 57% of e-commerce sales, making it even stronger than the B2C e-commerce market.

3. Consider What the French Buy

The French are ever fashion-conscious, and clothes, shoes, and accessories make up more than half of online purchases. But keep in mind that a disparity often occurs between domestic and foreign purchases consumers are happy to make online. So, before jumping into the French market, research as widely as possible how well your product is likely to be received.

Localizing for France: 4 Things to Consider 1
What French E-Commerce Purchasers Buy

4. Consider the Importance of Localization for France

To succeed in France, you must translate well and localize even better. Here are a few bitesize insights for your French foray:

  • The French are notorious for bargain hunting. 80% compare prices across merchants before deciding on an online purchase. Therefore, research your competition and price yourself accordingly. Also, try to get your offering featured on product comparison sites.
  • Online shoppers in France spend an average of $70 (US) per session. Take advantage of this by considering in-cart add-ons that pair well with specific items in your product catalog.
  • France has one of the highest fraud rates (3%) in Europe. This has resulted in French consumers having heightened security concerns. Therefore, trusted and secure payment options are vital if you wish to gain the confidence of your targeted customers.
  • France has a strong history of consumer privacy protections that find expression in the country’s eCommerce regulations and laws. As well as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), online businesses must comply with the 1978 Act – La loi Informatique et Libertés, Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés, 2019. Make sure your data policies are in line with the latest GDPR standards and those specific to France.
  • In a very short time, mobile shopping in France has evolved from a niche activity to a major trend. Nearly 40% of all online purchases are currently conducted via smartphone or another mobile device. When localizing for France, make sure you optimize for mobile use, or you risk missing out on an essential portion of the French e-commerce market.

Localizing for France: Let’s Summarize

As you can see, the online French market is growing. This means that when you enter the French market with your content properly localized, you gain access to millions of potential online buyers.

Localizing for France may seem like a challenge, but you can make this step with the help of the experienced professionals at Localize. Don’t hesitate to talk to us, and we will gladly take these steps with you!